Teaching Our Children to Give to Those in Need.

I feel i need to teach my children the importance of giving back to the communities that we live and to those less fortunate than we are. I try to let the kids see me doing this everywhere we go.

Giving back to the communities that we are in can be small things such as volunteering for a local organization,, helping a neighbour or buying a school uniform for a child in need. I believe that we need to be the change we want to see in the world. Our children need to see this modelled so that they will do the same when they get older. This is how we make the world a better place and global citizens!

For the past month, our family has been heading downtown every Sunday to feed the homeless. The group that we are doing this with calls it a Sidewalk Party. We set up in front of the  homeless shelter for those in life for a bed. Everyone that comes to volunteer, brings something to share. It can be as small as a bag of chips  or leftovers from last nights supper.

 

Two weeks ago, I posted on Facebook that I was looking for donations of purses and handbags for me to fill with toiletries and hand out to homeless women. Just from doing that, I was able to get donations of hamburge,pasta, toothpaste, toothbrushes, purses, backpacks, handbags, sleeping bags, shoes, coats and so much more!

 

So this Sunday, our family is taking a car load of things down to share with those less fortunate. We have decided to take the purses and backpacks down down on another day to hand out to those that we see that need them. I don’t want to get swarmed and not have enough.

 

I will make a 5 gallon pail full of pasta salad from donations for the crew on Sunday.

My kids love being down there and visiting with everyone. Everyone that is down there is so polite and happy! This is one of our favourite things to do during the week!

Traveling on an Ultra Low Budget

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We have a set budget of $800 per month no matter where we are located. This is a pretty low budget for most but it works for us. I find that sticking to our budget is no different than setting a budget and sticking to it when you live a conventional life. Our budget is all about choices.

Everything we do is a choice. Every choice we make, affects our budget and how we live. For example I could choose to spent $500 on a beautiful Airbnb home that I found online. It wouldn’t leave us much for anything else but it COULD be done. It would be a choice for me to make.

Since we are on an ultra low budget, I normally don’t even look on Airbnb.com for places to rent. They are most often out of our budget. I do find cheap local hotels for a few nights and book a few nights there. ONce we are there we set out to find a house to rent locally. We walk around the neighbours and take photos of the For Rent Signs so we have the phone numbers later. We then ask a local to call the numbers for us and ask how much the rent is for them. They usually get a cheaper rate than if I called and asked. The owners would assume that I am a tourist and give me the tourist rate which is much higher than the local rate. In bigger cities, it doesnt hurt to ask for a discount in exchange for some kind of work. I’ve offered to cut the lawn in an entire complex for a reduction in rent.

You can also try to find your own workaway opportunities wherever you are. BY keeping my eyes open and wandering around the area and talking to people, I’ve been able to find local workaway like opportunities for our family. Getting discounted rent in a basement suite for helping a disabled man (washing dishes, laundry, light housekeeping, mowing the yard etc).

We almost always cook our own meals. We usually buy our food at the local market. We bring our own snacks and lunch when we go out for the day. We also bring water bottles for drinks while we are out. We try to eat like locals as much as possible. The more import foods you buy the more expensive your bill will be. Usually there is some local alternative that is similar to what you’re used to. Try it and you might just like it.

Depending on where we are, we often will just go to the Internet cafe for a few hours to get work done online, rather than getting internet in the house. Especially if we have to get a new hook up and the company wants deposits and possibly a contract.

I have a cheap flip phone that is unlocked that I bought from Walmart. No one wants to steal this phone! No worry of anyone trying to steal it. I get a local SIM card and put it in to the phone and then buy minutes as I need them. I use this phone to make local calls. It’s also good because if we are out and don’t speak the language, I can ask someone to call a business for me and not have to worry about them running off with my phone. I do have an iPhone that I keep in the bottom of my bag. I mostly use it in the house and to take the odd photo in a pinch.

We travel with 2 iPad minis. One is my 6 year old son’s for school. He has educational apps on his iPad that he likes to play. He also can watch Treehouse kids shows and Netflix if we have wifi that is strong enough. I have an iPad with lots of memory that I use for everything. I also have a small Bluetooth keyboard that I use for typing. I use the iPad for everything from blogging and vlogging to reading ebooks and watching movies. I can make and open word documents and all other office documents as I have those apps on my iPad. I like that it takes up so much less space.

We try to keep our baggage to carry on only. This helps cut costs when flying on discount airlines. A lot of airlines now are charging extra baggage or are heading in that direction.

We try to find as many cheap and low cost things to do as possible. The beach, nature walks, walking through local neighbourhoods etc. When there are attractions that are more expensive, try to find out if its cheaper to go on your own rather than with a tour. Also consider calling and asking if they offer discounts. Look online for coupons and other discounts as well. It can’t hurt to ask for a discount, the worst they can say is NO!

My best advice is set a budget that you can realistically manage and stick to it. It’s no different that if you  were in a conventional house. If we lived in a house and I only made $1,500 a month for example, would would have to make that budget work for us. We’d have to make choices to ensure that we could afford to live where were living within our budget. It’s no different for full time travel.

Since our budget is ultra low, I like to use http://www.numbeo.com to check cost of living in  the places we want to go and compare them to our home city or other places where I know the cost of living. This allows me to anticipate if our ultra low budget will be easily achievable in the place we are going to or if I will need to find some free places to stay like workaway or house sitting to save some money while we are there.

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Edmonton for FREE

We have been spending the summer in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. We love this city for families because there are so many free things to do!

Edmonton is known as the Festival Capital of Alberta. There is a different festival every week for the entire summer. Most of the festivals are free or have components that are free.

When we got here, we tracked down an old friend who can get us a bus pass for a discount. For $50 we get a monthly bus pass instead of the $91 that it would cost at full cost. Having the bus pass lets us get all around Edmonton at no cost other than buying the bus pass. It costs $3.25 per person per 1.5 hours on the bus. So the bus pass is a great deal for us. The Edmonton Transit System also offers a day pass that is $(.50 and is valid for one adult and up to 4 kids up to age 12. Sometimes you can find discounted bus passes on the local buy and sell groups on facebook or on Kijiji.ca

We spent a few days at the Street Performers Festival in Churchill Square. There is a nice kids area with open ended toys for the kids to play with. A story reading area and lots of volunteers to help the kids if they need help with anything. As well there is usually a kids act going on in the kids area. The day we were there, a balloon artist was in the kids in area and made the kids swords totally free. All the street performers that are at the festival make their living on donations. We try to donate what we can but it isn’t required to enjoy the event. While we are down at Churchill square, we like to cross the road and spend some time at the City Hall wading pool on hot days. There are change rooms and bathrooms. Food and drink is available from the food court in the City Centre Mall. The Dollarama is closed for renovations until the fall but it will be open next summer. It is a great spot to get water, snacks and water toys for the wading pool!

Art on Whyte and Sand on Whyte are two small events that are held together on Whyte Ave. Art on Whyte has all kinds of local artists selling their art and making their art on the sidewalks around Whyte Ave. It is a nice event to walk around and enjoy what you see. Talk to the artists and have a nice day out. Sand on Whyte has some pretty amazing sand sculptures on display. In the same area there is a small sand box for the kids to try their hand at sand sculpting. As well about 3 blocks from all this is a great playground and splash park. It was the perfect place to cool off after a hot day in the sun!

We’ve been enjoying spending hot days at the Legislature Wading Pools. They are easy to access from almost anywhere in the city. Take a bus downtown and catch the train to Grandin Station. Another option is take the bus to the nearest train station and take the train to Grandin Station. Follow the signs for Gov’t Centre. The pedways will lead you through to the wading pools. If you walk past the doors going out to the wading pools, towards the washrooms, you will find a really cool old plane hanging from the ceiling and some pretty interesting displays about Canadian Government. There is also a large Lego model of the legislative building that the kids like to check out. Once you get outside there are 4 different pools that you can explore. There isn’t much for food in the area. Usually an ice cream vendor and a hot dog vendor. We like to bring a picnic lunch and bring our own snacks. There is a water bottle filling station and a water fountain in the area. There are bathrooms as well.

Edmonton Public Library has some great libraries with great kids areas. The main branch is being renovated at the moment. It should be done by 2020. In the mean time, the Clareview Library, Meadows, and Millwoods Branches have nice kids areas. Computers and iPads for the kids to play games on, toys and games.

A few days ago, we took the bus downtown and caught the Sherwood Park 401 bus from in front of Telus Tower and caught the double decker bus. With our bus pass we only had to pay $1 extra. The kids loved it! We sat upstairs and saw so much.

The John Walter Museum offers free tours on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Edmonton Art Gallery has free days two evenings a week.

There are often free pancake breakfasts around the start of K-Days in July.

I find so many great free things to do in Edmonton, just by Googling Free Things to do in Edmonton this week.

There are lots of things to do in Edmonton for families. It’s worth it to stay in the city for a week in the summer and it doesn’t have to cost a lot.

 

 

Welcome Summer!!!

We are happily welcoming the warmer weather that has come our way!

 

Weve been spending lots of time outside going for walks and playing in the yard.

Over the long weekend we drove to Alberta for a quick visit. It looks like we might be moving back to Alberta!

Plans are in the works for the fall!!

 

Stay tuned!!

It’s Not All Sunshine And Roses

Over the years I’ve had people say “it can’t all be sunshine and roses”. They are so right. It isn’t always sunshine and roses when you are Worldschooling and living life on the road. Living a conventional life isn’t alway sunshine and roses either. I don’t think anything would be sunshine and roses after a while. Before long things get to be normal and mundane, even things like living in a tropical country. 

I think a persons attitude can greatly affect how much sunshine and roses you see in your life. We all know someone with the personality of Eeyore in the Winnie The Pooh series. The person who is always down and always finds the negative in everything. This person could go to the best party of the year that everyone has been raving about for months since and say it wasn’t that great. 
I try to be a very positive person. Even when horrible things are happening to us, I try to find the positive in the situation. This really helps. Many years ago I took an online art journaling course called Soul Restoration. It changed me a lot! One of the activities was to make a time line from your birth until you were 90. Fill in as many details as you can on the timeline. The good, the bad and the ugly. I did this up to my then current age. I filled in my childhood, my parents divorce when I was a teen, my children’s births, my marriage, my divorce etc. Then I looked at the entire timeline and do you know what I saw? I noticed that, my timeline had down points along the way but that it always went back up to positive parts! Even when bad things happened, something good always happened after that! Now I try to remember this when not so great things happen.
There are going to be days when you are on the road when things are not going to be good at all. Hotel bookings didn’t happen for whatever reason, the rental car broke down, the bank machine ate your card and the bank won’t be open for 4 days, you lost your credit card and can’t get a new one for 8 days and have no access to your money during this time. Things like this can and do happen. How you choose to deal with them will make a difference as to how your kids react when they happen. 
We’ve had times that were pretty horrible during out traveling life. In 2013, I got Dengue fever. It was awful. I was so sick for months and nothing gave relief. I lost 22 pounds by the time I finally got well. I had no medical insurance, so I went to the public hospital. I was given a bed but no bedding. A shared bathroom and showers between two big rooms full of 16 patients per room and the people caring for them. I had to have a friend stay with me at all times and it had to be a woman. This person was also responsible for going to the pharmacy across the street from the hospital to get any medication I needed and bags of fluid for my IV. They also went to the cafeteria to buy me food and beg me to eat it (I wasn’t eating because I was so sick with vomiting and fever). Other friends and neighbors cared for my kids at home. They did our laundry and helped clean my house. When I was released from the hospital, I was still weak for a long time. My friends and neighbors in our little barrio cared for my family. 
Instead of dwelling on the fact that I was sick in a developing country, I chose to dwell on how wonderful my friends and neighbors were to us. Our little community in that poor barrio really pulled together and took care of us. 
Even when there’s rain, it doesn’t last forever and eventually a rainbow comes out and shows it’s beauty.